The Statutes of Bologna’s Law School

2022 Digital Exhibition


Follow the link below to access a PDF of the “Statutes of Bologna’s Law School” resource, complete with a glossary, photos, and a transcription and translation of the statutes.

Statutes of Bologna’s Law School

This exhibition is based on a translation of the statutes by Robbins Collection Senior Reference Librarian Jennifer K. Nelson, as well as on material included in our earlier exhibition, The Medieval Law School. The Robbins Collection houses the Statuta universitatis bononiensis (Robbins MS 22), one of the earliest copies of the statues of the University of Bologna, dating from 1252. The statutes explain the rules that must be followed by university professors, such as how many days off they can take a week, when the terms begin and end, when they may accept payment for teaching, the precise material to be covered during each term, and the fines they must pay if they do not complete the curriculum during the established time.

The exhibition takes a closer look at sections of the statutes as well as the influence Bologna-trained scholars had on the development of legal scholarship in the centuries following the founding of the law school. Some of the most influential jurists of the 12th and 13th centuries either studied or taught at Bologna. They produced a significant body of scholarship, analysis and commentaries on Justinian’s Corpus juris civilis, establishing the standard texts and jurisprudential methodology for generations of jurists across the European continent.